Independent power producers’ contribution set to improve

Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said independent power producers are currently contributing 2 percent to the national grid. The energy regulator said in total 23 IPP’s have so far been licences including small hydro and biomass power generation.

ZERA acting chief executive Eddington Mazambani told The Herald Business that four mini-hydro stations currently operating are supplying 22 megawatts into the grid.

“There are currently 23 licensed independent power producers. Four small hydro-power stations are supplying into the grid and three biomass (sugar plantations) are also feeding into the grid. The current contribution of IPP’s is only 2 percent. It is expected that when commissioned, IPP projects will significantly contribute to the total energy mix,” said Mr Mazambani.

He said an integrated resource plan which Government is working on will define the contribution of each technology as well as the IPP involvement in power generation.

Hippo Valley and Triangle with a generating capacity of 33MW and 45MW have been contributing excess power to the national grid. Other small IPPs that are operational include Border Timbers Duru, Nyamingura, Pungwe A and Green Fuel.

The contribution of IPPs to the national grid is currently minimal and is expected to increase when big power generation expansion projects come into stream in 2018. Zimbabwe, which has five power stations, produces half of its peak demand of 2 200MW but the power utility ZESA is undertaking projects to increase capacity at Hwange Thermal and Kariba South Hydro.

Hwange has installed capacity of 920mw but produces only 500MW due to antiquated machinery, but there are plans to increase generation by a further 600MW. Kariba, with installed capacity of 750MW, will have an additional two 150MW units by 2017.

Other independent power generation projects like Lusulu (500MW) have since brokered funding deals with construction expected to commence this year. China Africa Sunlight is expected to secure funding from a Chinese Bank this year while construction will commence once an agreement has been reached.

ZERA last year said it has reviewed the pricing structure around licensing of independent power producers in a bid to increase investment within the power generation sector.

In this case the ZERA has the mandate to award generation licences that authorise licensees to construct, own, operate and maintain a generation station for purposes of the generation and supply of electricity to any transmission, distribution or supply licensee who purchases electricity for resale to consumers. Mr Mazambani further said there is no limit in terms of power generation as demand is currently outstripping supply.





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